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Better than the real thing: CGI vs traditional film

Paul McSweeney 29 November 2018

You don’t need us to tell you how CGI has changed the world. Why has it become so infinitely popular? It allows us to create unique scenarios that can’t be matched by photography or video. Take this configurator for the Bentley Bentayga; using traditional photography you would never be able to convey the sheer scale of customisation available. To do that as a photo shoot you would need a physical sample of every option, which is an impossibility given that there are literally billions of possible configurations! It’s why photo-realistic CGI has become so powerful.


Complete control

Don’t underestimate the prevalence of CGI; Ikea’s catalogue is mostly digitally rendered for example. It allows for complete control. Sure, if you opt for a live-action shoot for your latest advert or marketing film the traditional way it has an air of authenticity. But if you get back home only to find out you missed that perfect shot on location, it could be very costly to return to location and reshoot.

With CGI, that chance of error is eliminated; 3D shots can be endlessly tweaked until they meet the desired visual target. If you’re using a game engine, like Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, these changes can be made in real-time and provide far-reaching possibilities within the interactive world.


Fully loaded

The automotive industry hasn’t escaped the CGI wave, despite some insistence where film is the only way. When it comes to advertising, the sector prefers to marry CGI and the real world. And we’re not referring to the obvious examples like the goat in the Volkswagen T-Roc advert.

This is perfect for situations where the car’s design has yet to be finalised. Renders can be placed initially and configured as the project progresses and the design shifts.

Another keyword is flexibility. Not only can the car be put in any location, but it can also be viewed from any angle, under any weather conditions, in any lighting. And photorealism has never been higher – we’re at a point where viewers genuinely can’t tell the difference between what is real and what isn’t.


More than a feeling

The potential to integrate with other technological advancements, like AR and VR, is another expanding area. The image quality isn’t quite there yet but it’s moving at a pace and the next generation of headsets will be able to fool the viewer into questioning what is real and what is virtual.

CGI has become commonplace as the chosen solution for almost all car configurators, allowing prospective buyers the ability to create their perfect car by personalising every interior and exterior detail before sharing the life-like visualisations with their friends and family. Yes, photography and film are real, and there will always be people of the opinion that nothing can replace what is real. But sometimes there’s more to marketing – more to your vehicle – than what is real. It’s an experience that can’t be conveyed by film alone. With CGI you have the tools in your hand to bring your perfect design to life.

At RealtimeUK we are the experts at recreating your designs down to the smallest detail. With a wealth of experience in the automotive industry, we have the capability to turn your ideas into a virtual reality. Get in touch with me at [email protected] to discuss your next project.